The what’s, why’s and how’s of mindfulness for beginners
Written by Sinead Duncan
Stressed? Anxious? And feeling totally lost when someone suggests you try meditation?
If that’s you, you’re not alone! Meditation can sometimes seem like an exclusive, far away practice only available to those that are spiritually inclined.
And yet still the gnawing feelings of anxiety and stress persist. For a lot of us they can greatly interrupt our sleep, it can prevent us from enjoying life and relationships, it can block us from taking steps towards our dreams and goals. Let’s face it, it knocks our confidence and slowly chips away at us.
So then maybe in your search for help, you come across mindfulness. Due to its popularity in the wellness community, mindfulness might also feel like an inaccessible practice.
However, keep reading! Mindfulness really is for everyone (side note – so is meditation); for the stressed, the anxious, the worried, for those with no time or with no energy, those with families, jobs and commitments. It’s here to help us enjoy each and every day in our lives as they already are.
Mindfulness can almost be seen as having two parts to it:
- It’s a state of being aware of the present moment, using our senses to see, hear, smell, feel and / or taste this very exact moment.
- In that moment it’s also calmly and lovingly accepting one’s own thoughts, feelings and bodily sensations.
Sounds kind of hard, right. Well the great news is that it doesn’t have to be!
Mindfulness is offered by teachers and experts who can guide you through a practice. Below we answer common questions that come up when deciding to try mindfulness to help:
What are the benefits of mindfulness?
This simple practice gives you access to a deeply restorative state of relaxed engagement, similar to the ‘flow’ state you might enter when immersed in your favourite hobby. It’s a resource to offer you relief from stress and anxiety in everyday life. It can offer more options of how you would like to respond when stressful or anxiety inducing situations arise, helping you to move through life with a little more grace and enjoyment.
How long does each practice take?
Any amount of time, from 2 minutes whilst making your coffee to 1 hour or longer. It depends how long you would like to practice for!
If I do a shorter practice will I feel less benefit?
A longer practice can have amazing results! But any amount of time offers such healing benefits it’s worth it no matter how little time you have.
How often do I need to do this in order for it to work?
You’ll find that you usually feel the benefits after each and every practice. So if you’re time poor, you can dip in and out as your needs require. However if you can practice regularly you should find that the feelings of peace, reflection, contentment and calm become your autopilot function.
If I don’t do it regularly, is it worth doing?
If you remember anything from this article, consider making it this: no practice is ever wasted. No matter how small or infrequent, any amount of practice offers immense benefits to your health and well-being. Just like Yoga, this isn’t an all-or-nothing practice.
Is mindfulness spiritual?
Not necessarily. The language used is often everyday language that you are used to hearing, so it’s accessible to lots of personalities. However you might feel that the practice does have a level of spirituality for you. Whether it feels spiritual or not doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong.
Can you do mindfulness wrong?
Not at all. Mindfulness is simple and accessible, especially when guided by teachers. Sometimes it might feel harder than other times to time in to the practice, and that’s okay. Imagine it just like a physical workout, sometimes it feels amazing and other times you might feel low energy. It’s simply part of being a human.
How can I get started?
Join us Saturday 26th Feb at 1pm at our bright and welcoming Bristol Yoga studio for a Mindfulness Workshop with Aaron. The session will be a 90 minute exploration of these central practices, namely focused breathing, a bodyscan meditation and a mindful movement Yoga session (which will be very gentle).
I can’t join you for that workshop, how else can I get started?
Have any questions about mindfulness? Feel free to get in touch with us! We love to hear from you.